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News


President to visit Nepal and Libya

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will pay an official visit to Nepal shortly, and pray at holy Buddhist shrines in the land where the Buddha was born.

The visit follows the Presidentís acceptance of an invitation by Nepalís Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, for a three-day visit to his country.

Details of the visit in the first week of March have not been disclosed due to security reasons.
The Nation reliably learns that Chief of Protocol Sudantha Ganegama has already gone to Kathmandu to make the preparations for the Presidentís visit.

President Rajapaksa is also expected to visit Libya on an official tour prior to his visit to Nepal.

With growing links with Libya since it recently opened its job market to skilled Lankans, sources said that there was a very good chance of Sri Lanka opening an embassy in Tripoli.

According to reports the President will visit Lumbini in southern Nepal, where the Buddha was born over 2,500 years ago, and Swayambhunath, a world heritage site in Kathmandu revered by Buddhists, Jains and Hindus alike.

Rajapaksa is the first foreign dignitary to visit Nepal under the Maoist government, besides UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last year, who too visited Lumbini.

Currently, Sri Lanka chairs the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) bloc of which Nepal is a member.

With growing numbers of tourists from Sri Lanka visiting Nepal, the governments of the two countries last month revised the existing air services agreement, with plans to start direct flights between Kathmandu and Colombo.